Source apportionment and health risk assessment of nitrate in foothill aquifers of Western Ghats, South India

Banajarani Panda, S. Chidambaram, Daniel Snow, Arindam malakar, Dhiraj Kr Singh, A. L. Ramanathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The present research reports the level of nitrate (NO3-), associated health risks and possible sources of contamination in groundwater from south India. Many samples (32%) are above or approaching the recommended level of NO3- for safe drinking water. The correlation analysis indicates different sources of NO3- contamination in different regions rather than a common origin. The isotopic measurements provide information about potential nitrogen sources contributing NO3- to the groundwater. Based on isotope analysis, the sources of NO3- in the groundwater of this region are likely to be from (a) septic sewage (b) organic nitrogen (animal and livestock excreta) (c) sewage (domestic & chemical fertilizers). Among the sample analyzed sewage, manure and septic sewage contribute 46%, 23% and 31% NO3- to groundwater. The HQ > 1 indicates non-carcinogenic health risk due to consumption of high NO3- in drinking water. Among the studied age groups, infants are exposed to higher risk than children and adults. Results indicate that groundwater of this region is polluted with NO3- due to anthropogenic activities. Continuous consumption of such water may pose serious health risk to the residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113075
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Correlation
  • Groundwater
  • Health risk
  • N-isotopes
  • Nitrate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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